Fleet registrations have been at record monthly highs for 16 of the last 19 months - and for the fourth month out of four in 1998 - with April sales of 90,815 just 1.8% up on April 1997's 89,207. Fleet volumes this year are now 7.4% up on last year's four-month total at 382,618 (1997: 356,123). Total new car registrations for April were the third biggest on record, despite sales dipping 6% year-on-year to 171,690 from April 1997's 182,747.
The highest April sales figure recorded was in the boom year of 1989 when 191,276 cars were registered. Despite the slip, total 1998 new car sales are running 8.3% up year-on-year at 794,252 (1997: 733,209) with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders predicting that the market is well on course to achieve the predicted 2.15 million mark for the year.
Renault's performance, although surprising that the Megane was the best-selling car last month ahead of the Ford Escort - the first time that a non-Ford, Vauxhall or Rover has been the best-selling car in the UK - has been threatened for some time with the company having outperformed Rover in the fleet market each month this year and Peugeot for three of the four months.
Top 10 best-selling fleet manufacturers in April were: Ford 18,585, Vauxhall 12,519, Renault 9,896, Peugeot 8,790, Rover 7,672, Fiat 5,185, Volkswagen 4,068, Nissan 3,926, Citroen 3,530, Toyota 3,290.
Top 10 best-selling fleet models in April were: Ford Mondeo 6,047, Renault Megane 5,762, Ford Escort 5,527, Vauxhall Vectra 5,493, Ford Fiesta 4,838, Vauxhall Astra 3,760, Peugeot 306 3,540, Peugeot 406 3,357, Fiat Punto 3,332, Rover 400 3,126.